Murphy House wins RIBA House of the Year

The RIBA House of the Year is awarded to the best new house designed by an architect in the UK.

The prestigious award, from the World’s oldest Architectural Association, celebrates excellence in house design and is a telling indication of the construction methods, styles and trends which will influence the construction and architectural industries in the coming years.

Described by some as a ‘Cave of Wonders’ or a ‘Box of tricks’ Murphy House is an Edinburgh Townhouse which is a new exemplar of compact living.

Designed by 60-year-old local architect Richard Murphy, the home is a three-dimensional spatial riddle that speaks of a lifetime of coming up with ingenious solutions to historic everyday living problems. The result is a playful system of sliding doors, pulleys, levers and peepholes which create an assortment of adaptable spaces and nifty features: one wrong move and you could be catapulted out on to the street!

All the flaps and shutters create a home that feels truly responsive to the seasons and different modes of habitation.

Citing another precedent, Murphy calls on Dutch architect Aldo van Eyck, who said that a house should be both a bird’s nest and a cave, an extrovert place in summer and a retreat in winter, which makes particular sense here. “In Edinburgh, we can have 20 hours of daylight a day or six. The house needs to close down as much as open up.”

Images via Richard Murphy Architects.